Home Featured News Grand Rapids to receive federal aid for recent surge of COVID-19 cases

Grand Rapids to receive federal aid for recent surge of COVID-19 cases

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Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in downtown Grand Rapids (Courtesy Photo/MLive)

Spectrum Health hospital systems have continued to battle a surge of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. The federal government announced Nov. 24 that the Department of Defense will send health care workers to Grand Rapids to assist in the shortage of healthcare workers as hospital space continues to grow thin. 

The DOD plans to dispatch 22 healthcare workers to Spectrum Health hospitals, western Michigan’s largest health care network. This is part of a two-pronged offensive in combating the virus in Michigan, as the state contains some 4,000 hospital inpatients with COVID-19. Hospital officials have reported that most of the hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. There will also be an additional 22 health care workers sent to Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn. 

A registered nurse at Spectrum Health Butterworth hospital, who requested to remain nameless, stated, “Our numbers are higher than they’ve ever been, so we could use all the help we can get.”

The relief lineup includes nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists. Their stay in Michigan is temporary, as they are projected to be removed 30 days after their original arrival date. 

Spectrum Health workers are grateful to be receiving assistance, especially with the holiday seasons looming. 

“…With holiday travel, I can’t anticipate our volumes going down,” the nurse stated. “The help couldn’t come at a better time.”

On Wednesday, Spectrum opened up about its current inpatients. They have reported that 405 of their patients have COVID-19. Spectrum Health also reports that 94% of its 106 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients are unvaccinated.

This recent surge is remarkable as the state of Michigan has never had to treat as many infected patients as they do now since the pandemic began. This surge has revealed itself as the current boiling point in the state’s bout with the pandemic. 

Healthcare workers have noted the backup of the hospital intake system due to increased COVID-19 cases and healthcare worker shortages. Yet, the hospital is overcome with more new cases each day.

“With the hospital being so full, we’re being forced to hold (mostly COVID-19) patients in the ER,” the nurse stated. “(This) impacts our staffing and makes for lengthened wait times…” 

The surge continues as healthcare workers brace themselves for the coming month of hardship in their struggle against COVID-19.

More information about testing and vaccination locations, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services epidemic orders, and updates about the virus can be found here.

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